Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 18, 2012

Fred S. Lamb, M.D.

SUTTONS BAY — Fred S. Lamb, M.D., 76, passed away at Tendercare of Leelanau on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.

At six feet, five inches tall, with a towering intellect, an expansive heart, and tremendous talent, Fred S. Lamb was, in all ways, a big man. His resume and list of accomplishments is out-sized as well.

Born in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 1935, to Fred H. and Ruth Jones Lamb, he grew up in Cadillac. As an MSU undergrad, at a bonfire fraught with frat boys, foam, and fate, Fred spied a cute co-ed, who appeared anything but "fatigued" in her tight-fitting army pants and scarlet lipstick. This was to be his bride of 56 years, Kathleen Ann Stites of Acme.

Graduating with an art degree, Fred became half-owner of a successful advertising agency. Ever a restless spirit, though, Fred moved on to medicine, obtaining his M.D. at Wayne State in 1970. He was board certified in pediatrics in 1976. Over the ensuing decades, Fred worked his medical mojo everywhere from Edinburgh to Oahu, from Munson to Malawi. Along the way, he founded the Grand Traverse Children's Clinic and headed and co-directed the Pediatric Intensive Care Units at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital in Pontiac. In later years, he established the Walk-In Clinic in Suttons Bay, where he indulged his sixties socialist ideals, often treating patients without charge or bartering for goods in lieu of payment.

Fred was always a feisty pacifist — long on ideals and short of patience for bureaucracy and red tape, when he believed they hindered him from helping those in need. Indeed, helping others was his raison d'être — the driving force in all he did.

Over his lifetime, Fred, with his wife, Kathleen, harbored and helped strays of every stripe. In their vast Victorian wedding-cake house on Webster Street in the seventies, they sheltered interns and indigents, lost dogs and underdogs, foreigners and free radicals, those suffering from arrested adolescence and adolescents who probably should have been arrested. All were welcomed to the party. All were treated with respect and kindness, truly the best medicine.

Yes, Fred was an over-sized over-achiever with an unquenchable thirst for adventure and travel. Now, as he steers his glorious celestial sailboat into uncharted territory, he must truly be content and free. A soldier and sailor, artist and athlete, connoisseur of cocktails, father, physician and friend to all in need, Fred was all of these and so much more.

He leaves behind his beloved Kathleen; his sons, Fred (Lisa), and Michael (Stacy); daughters, Jennifer (Clay) Carlson and Hayley; grandchildren, Caelan, Alex, Ian, Addysen, Celia, Carson, Michael, Lori, Liam, Gray and Charlise; and great-granddaughter Maddyn; as well as his dog and fellow fromage-ophile, Rufus.

A memorial gathering for friends and family will be held at a later date.

Donations may be made to Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, 3785 Veterans Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684 and/or to the Father Fred Foundation, P.O. Box 2260, Traverse City, MI 49685.

Please share thoughts and memories with Fred's family on their online guestbook at

Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.

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